Chefs and the founder of StreetCube, a sustainable street food market, have spoken of their sadness that they will have to leave Wandsworth by the end of August.
Since 2019, StreetCube has been based at Southside Shopping Centre, it has served the community throughout the pandemic and won an environmental “pioneer” award this year.
StreetCube alleges that the landlord of SouthSide Shopping Centre has asked for six gazebo stalls to be removed by the end of August.
The row was sparked over the gazebo stalls, which are allegedly taking business away from other retailers.
Mick Litchfield, 36, from Southfields, works in finance, he said: “I’ve eaten at Street Cube a few times now, personally I would be disappointed to see it close.
“People these days like variety and convenience and Street Cube fulfils that need.”
A petition was started by StreetCube chefs urging locals to show their support for them – and it has drawn in more than 3,000 signatures.
Founder of StreetCube, Pascal Gerrard said: “We are standing up to the big corporations and saying actually this is what the people want, are you listening?”
Student, Sienna Dalgaudio, 21, who grew up in the area, said: “I can’t imagine it not being here.
“The locals feed these local businesses and the food is amazing.
“I don’t know why they would want to take it away, I think if anything it draws people to the centre, so it would be really sad to see it close.”
Recently, Wandsworth’s cabinet member for economic development, skills and employment, Councillor Rhodri Morgan, pleaded with the shopping centre to reconsider its decision in a public letter.
After sending the letter, Councillor Morgan added: “It does appear a great shame that a venture which has supported a number of small businesses and brought pleasure and variety to the town centre could be curtailed.
“We hope the shopping centre listens to the concerns and wishes of local people on this issue.”
A spokesperson for Southside Shopping Centre, said: “We have a temporary agreement with StreetCube which covers their original three units and we want to clarify that we have not asked for these to be removed.
“During lockdown, StreetCube added several additional pop-up gazebos without formal consent and outside of the agreement we have in place.
“Since retail and leisure is now fully open, we must consider the impact that these additional pop-ups are having on our other brand partners.
“As the landlord, we are responsible for ensuring that all our brand partners are able to flourish.
“Unfortunately the high number of these additional pop-ups are restricting visibility and access to some of our brands which is having a detrimental impact on footfall and ultimately their business.
“For this reason, we have asked StreetCube to remove those pop-ups that do not form part of our agreement with them.
“Southside has always hosted pop-up food stalls operated by local independent traders and this will continue to be available for the traders to apply, while running in a manner that reflects the constraints of the site and in line with the agreements we have in place with all of our brand partners.”
Image credit: Leanne Hall